The third Democratic debate was held in Goffstown, New Hampshire, a state whose primary is the first non-caucus of the primary campaign. The debate was hosted by ABC News’ David Muir and Martha Raddatz. Unlike the GOP debate from a few days earlier, the questions were reasonable and relevant to policy issues, but I still have some complaints to make about the debate itself.
As I said the questions asked by the moderators were substantive and prompted decent responses from the candidates. My analysis of the candidates responses are below, and luckily there aren’t nine to look through:
Although the debates were more relevant to actual policy questions, the decided lack of questions about climate change from the moderators was a noticeable absence. Furthermore, I personally feel that the debate was too focussed on foreign policy but I blame the DNC for this rather than ABC News. This may seem odd given that ABC News wrote and collated the questions, however if you follow my reasoning hopefully you’ll agree.
The Republican Party are having lots of debates. They basically have to because there are so many candidates that not doing very many would only allow some to put their views across. Are the American people watching all of the debates in the same way as a political junkie like myself? No. However, the mainstream media watches these debates religiously. As a result the media is being driven by the agenda and conversation as defined by the GOP debates by virtue of them being more frequent. Also the things that the Republican candidates are saying are so outlandish that they are news worthy.
At the mainstream media is not covering the Democrats as much as the Republicans because of the number of candidates, but when the they do cover Democrats its really only one person: Hillary Clinton. Indeed the DNC have only scheduled six debates to put each candidates positions across. This would be fine if all candidates were unknowns but this isn’t the case as one of the candidates is one of the most famous people in politics, and the other two are not known by the vast majority of the electorate.
Am I implying that there is a grand conspiracy to make Clinton the nominee? Not necessarily, but it is worth pointing out two things. Firstly thee last two debates have been held on Saturdays, which everybody in politics knows is a way of reducing the audience of a debate because people are going to go out rather than stay in for a Democratic primary debate.
Secondly there are only six debates. Surely if you’re the DNC you would want Democratic candidates’ messages to be broadcast across the country to prevent the GOP dominating the airwaves and the conversation. Instead the DNC have double down and said that there will be no new debates, which would seem to imply that it is fine with people in primaries voting without knowing the political positions of its candidates.
Thirdly, the head of the DNC, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, was the campaign co-chair of Hillary Clinton 2008 presidential campaign. As I said I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but it does seem odd that the DNC would not want the candidates to put their case to the electorate as often as possible, especially given that the Democratic candidates aren’t really being covered.
Basically, if there was a conspiracy to make Clinton the nominee this time around it would go something like this: she has an advantage in the polls because of name recognition and in order to keep this advantage intact preventing other candidates gaining name recognition is key. Furthermore to unify the party, candidates that do not agree with Clinton’s policies should be portrayed as extremists or unelectable. Finally, those people who are not clued up on politics who may vote for the primary shouldn’t be exposed to Clinton’s record when it contradicts stated policy positions.
To conclude the debate went exactly along this script. The media claimed that Clinton won by a landslide, even though I personally thought that nobody really won. The DNC have continued to bar candidates from taking part in debates that have not been approved by the DNC, and the head of the organisation is clearly a supporter of one of the candidates. If Clinton is going to be beaten, the other two candidates must work on there grassroots campaigns to circumvent the media’s blackout and to speak to voters directly. If this doesn’t happen it will be a Clinton coronation and given the terrifying spectacle in the GOP, it would probably bring in another Clinton as president.